I POPPED in to the Wherry Inn at Langley for a swift one this morning, but as this picture shows the old boozer isn’t quite what it used to be. In fact the Wherry hasn’t been a pub for almost eight years and I only made it inside at all thanks to owner Gary Hayes agreeing to unlock the padlocks on the temporary doors and switch on the equally temporary lighting just for my benefit. Gary runs Willow Builders – the company which will soon begin the job of converting this building into a house. And because I never made it into the Wherry when it was “alive” (see previous post) I was keen to see its interior before it starts a new life.
The last decade has not been kind to the Wherry. A succession of quick-fire landlords followed by closure, followed by squatters, followed by a rejected planning application for a restaurant, followed by endless rumours. I know that the closure itself proved controversial – with Gary copping some stick in the process. But even a dyed-in-the-wool pub romantic like me can see that these days there just isn’t enough trade in a location like this.
Inside there’s little left to mourn. No bar, no furniture, no soul. Gary (pictured right) says that just about everything made of wood was put on the wood burning stove by the squatters …who then left with the stove. Now Gary’s team will gut what remains, do a little light demolition here and build an extension there. And by September a five-bedroomed house with all mod-cons will emerge. So will it still be called The Wherry? No says Gary, but he is keen to reflect the history by perhaps naming the house after a wherry. Now were there any with strong local connections, or should it nod to one of the wherries which survive to this day? Suggestions please….. In the meantime one of the pub signs has found a very good new home, in my garage. Thanks again Mr H.